Social Services

I've spent most of my career trying to understand the relationship between humans and new technologie
Changeist
Social Services
By Changeist • Issue #11
I’ve spent most of my career trying to understand the relationship between humans and new technologies. More accurately, I’ve tried to understand more about people, using technology as a mirror to reveal our nature and intentions. In some ways it’s hard to get a fix on this, as the boundaries of interaction keep shifting and spreading. In other ways, this is precisely what makes it worth doing.
The paint hasn’t even dried on the era of social media, and now we encounter new species of social machines, meant to represent us, assist us, or perhaps replace us. This, to me, is doing just what I’ve described above— showing us a lot about ourselves as we seek to replicate and improve on our own impression of what those selves are. Maybe I should shorten a phrase I’ve been using in the past year, “culture is the original API” to “culture is the original AI”. 
I’ll not say more, and let the pieces below do the talking.
PS—On the road the next couple of weeks, so sending early to get on with packing. 

Recent and Upcoming
This short film was posted last month, but I only stumbled across it this week. It captures the essence of our Innovation Lab workshop from last October’s FutureEverything Singapore. It was a great experience, and a nice way to take time to fuse futures tools and strategic design to put technology where people want it in their communities and lives.
Just a short blog post from this past week to blow the dust off the RSS feed, reminding folks we’ve begun bundling up new essays and speculations over on Medium.
Another PSA, pointing to the ongoing assembly of a critical IoT reading list at Thingclash
Social Services
danah boyd’s opening essay for Data & Society’s new Medium collection discusses how social tools for the Internet often replicate, and can reinforce, the power structures and associated inequities that exist in society. 
Sociologist Bauman talks to El Pais about how social networks also become a ground for conflict in the struggle to reshape the society we live in now to get to the one(s) we want. 
There are tools, and then there is language. This humorous but critical piece from Ian Bogost picks apart what Coca-Cola’s control of language in a recent social media campaign says about both the interplay of brands and social platforms. When is a commons not a commons?
This isn’t just about social communication through words and images. We are up to our ankles in a world where it will also be about objects and people interacting. Where are the lines in sending an object as avatar into another’s space?
This great piece by Melissa Cefkin, whom I had the privilege of meeting years ago at EPIC, unpacks some of the issues researchers and designers already face in attempting to translate social signals and communication behaviors into more complex human-machine interactions. What is intention? What is politeness? What is a relationship?
This piece on being inside a telepresence bot is the one I never got around to writing about a similar experience I had inhabiting a telepresence unit at FT Alphavile last year—weirdly during Istvan Zoltan’s talk on transhumanism and uploading one’s brain to a computer. I had many similar sentiments, though probably came away feeling more surprised and possibly uneasy. Protip: it’s easy to accidentally shout. 
Fabien Girardin at Near Future Laboratory explains the ideas behind Humans, an app-centered exploration of pace and control in social media. 
The Network
It feels a little like an ad break in a podcast, but…
My favorite tool of the past few years, as some of you know, are Artefact Cards, the mad idea of friend and colleague John Willshire and the folk at Smithery. They’re now bigger, in a more fun pack, and patterned with glitchy graphy goodness. Pop over and avail yourself of a set. 
Re-socialize
A different kind of prototype: good friends Timo and Ossie are raising funding to make their pop-up BBQ venture, Bulelani, a reality. The campaign is in its final days, but if you are in Amsterdam, or just want to support an honest social eating venture run by excellent people, consider putting a few (or many) euros toward their goal. 
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Changeist
A periodic look into research threads on critical futures, strategy, post-normal innovation, providing a look over the shoulder of the team at Changeist. Each issue includes brief analysis, links, updates, and occasional invisible hand gestures.
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